Stanley Park: March 6th 2010

I decided to stop by Stanley Park on my way home from school this past Friday to kick off the weekend with a bit of birding. Coming straight from school meant that all I had to take pictures with was my cell phone so the pictures are somewhat lacking in quality. I started off at Lost Lagoon and made my way over to Second Beach before finishing up at Beaver Lake.

The marsh impoundment at the north east corner of Lost Lagoon held two singing Song Sparrows as well as an Anna’s Hummingbird who gathered some fluff from a cattail before buzzing off. The fluff will most likely be used as part of it’s nest (1).

Large numbers of Song Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, and Dark-eyed Junco were feeding off of the seeds and crumbs people had dropped near the stone bride at the western end of the lagoon. A few Fox Sparrows and a single Golden-crowned Sparrow were interspersed within the larger flock.

Out on the Lagoon was a large flock of Lesser Scaup, several Common Merganser, and a single female Canvasback among the other, more regular, birds.

Over at Beaver Lake this Mallard hybrid came looking for a handout when I stopped for a break. Anyone care to venture a guess at who the non-Mallard parent might be?

Soon after the hybrid Mallard stopped by, a pair of Wood Ducks made an appearance. Such a striking duck is hard to miss and even non-birders can’t help but want to take its picture. Unfortunately our affinity for the species may have once threatened its existence. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries hunters decimated the population and it took nearly 70 years to recover (2). Today, the species still comprises 10% of all ducks shot by hunters; it is second only to the Mallard in terms of numbers killed (3).

Despite the abundance of people and their dogs, Stanley Park is still a top notch birding destination; a veritable oasis within the urban desert of the city.

References:

  1. Russell, Stephen M. 1996. Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/bna/species/226doi:10.2173/bna.226
  2. Hepp, Gary R. and Frank C. Bellrose. 1995. Wood Duck (Aix sponsa), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/bna/species/169doi:10.2173/bna.169
  3. Bellrose, F. C. and D. J. Holm. 1994. Ecology and management of the Wood Duck. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, PA.
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2 Responses to “Stanley Park: March 6th 2010”


  1. 1 Rick Wright March 7, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Sounds fun–I still haven’t made it across English Bay to bird Stanley Park, but soon.
    I don’t think that that is a hybrid duck at all, but rather represents one of the domestic breeds of Mallard. A good clue is always the size of the bird: few are the wild hybrids that are larger than a wild Mallard, but for obvious reasons, many domestic Mallards are bred to be large.
    All the best,
    rick

  2. 2 Marc March 7, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Hi Rick,

    Thanks for the ID on the weird Mallard! I would never have thought to look at size when distinguishing between a hybrid and domestic breed.

    A quick google search revealed these two pages on domestic Mallards:

    http://www.birds.cornell.edu/crows/domducks.htm

    http://10000birds.com/manky-mallards-domestic-feral-or-just-plain-odd-mallards.htm

    It seems that this Mallard may be a “Bibbed” type.

    Cheers,
    Marc


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